The Book of Joy by Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu and Douglas Abrams

Summary
  1. A dialogue between the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu on how to turn ephemeral joy into an enduring trait
Key Takeaways
  1. Joy is much bigger than happiness, it is not dependent on any external circumstances.
  2. Joy is something we can cultivate and find inside even if experiencing external difficulties
  3. Reflecting on the pain and suffering of others help lessen our pain and suffering. So much depends on where we place our attention. Are we self-absorbed and focused on our individuality or do we look at the bigger picture and how we are connected to everything else
  4. Painful events are bound to happen and when they do, you must ask yourself how you can profit and grow from it
  5. Trying to achieve lasting joy through the senses is like trying to hydrate with salt water
  6. Developing deep relationships with others and showing them love, understanding and compassion is one of the best ways to cultivate joy
  7. Perhaps counterintuitive to many people is that the best way to help yourself is to help others.  You also must develop trust by showing them genuine care for their well-being
  8. The more we feel our own pain the more we can help others but the way to heal our pain is through helping others
  9. You must realize that emotion, anger and other negative states are inevitable but we should not overly beat ourselves up because of them
  10. Stress and anxiety mostly come from too much or poorly placed ambitions and expectations
  11. Stress itself is not damaging to our health but how we respond to it may be. Turning a threat into a challenge can help us better manage stress and get better perspective on it
  12. The path of joy is connection and the path of sorrow is isolation
  13. True joy is not possible without sorrow or sadness. However one must be able to find some meaning no matter how small from suffering in order to grow from it. We grow in kindness when our joy is tested
  14. The difference between prayer and meditation is blurry but some say prayer is us talking to God and meditation is when God answers
  15. Humor is a powerful force to break down barriers and show people we are all human
  16. Must get to the difficult place of choosing your highest goal, doing all you can to accomplish it but at the end not be tied to the outcome
  17. Gratitude allows us to step back and gain the wider perspective in order to see how lucky we are to be alive and to have what we have, however little it may be
  18. Not forgiving someone who has done you wrong keeps you in a negative loop, not allowing you to move on. Forgiveness allows you to move beyond the past and appreciate the present
  19. Our desire to be compassionate is demonstrated by our admiration of compassionate people
  20. Generosity is the best path to joy as the more you give the more you can receive – it is a true win-win
  21. Money can only bring you happiness if you give it away. Giving time and wisdom are also some of the best ways to receive and spread joy
  22. Ubuntu – a person is a person through other persons. We all rely on others and it is through these relationships that we become human
  23. The Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu stressed cultivating compassion and establishing deep, meaningful relationships to help increase the joy in your life.
What I got out of it
  1. Practice your compassion, be generous with your time, money and wisdom, focus on other’s suffering more than your own, realize you are part of a larger ecosystem and isolation should be avoided, life’s true wealth lies in deep relationships, must experience sorrow to experience true joy, express gratitude in all circumstances. Their advice on how to attain joy and live a happy life is often simple but certainly not easy to follow